Quinoa in a wooden bowl
Quinoa, uncooked colorful quinoa for healthy cooking, clean eating and diet, copy space, white background, vegan protein ingredient

Why We ❤️ Quinoa as a Rice Alternative

And why we just say no to rice for baby foods.

Rice is incredibly efficient at pulling heavy metals from the soil a 2021 Congressional Report outlined.  The report also outlined evidence of a pervasive problem of toxic heavy metals in baby foods. Studies conducted by Consumer Reports found that brown rice actually had 80% more arsenic than white rice.  At Yumi, we banned rice in baby food from day one, because of the testing data available. Luckily, there are many other options for worried parents looking for rice alternatives.

Sometime around 2014, quinoa became America’s health food obsession. Quinoa versions of classic dishes emerged everywhere— from Quinoa Sushi, to Quinoa Fried Rice— and even drinkable quinoa emerged (but not without much protest). Quinoa-everything became all the rage, and for us, it is an amazing alternative to rice. 

Fast forward to now— 2021— a time when quinoa is loved just the way it is. At Yumi, we’ve always been huge fans of quinoa, but for its nutrient content rather than its trendiness. We’ve always included it in our jars because we think that its nutrient content is unparalleled. Here’s the lowdown on why we love quinoa:

-A Complete Protein: Quinoa contains all 20 amino acids our bodies need, plus research shows that foods naturally high in insoluble fiber may be particularly good at binding heavy metals 

-Naturally Gluten-Free: Suitable for all babies and all diets

-High in Folate: One ounce of quinoa contains 15% of daily folate intake for infants

-High in Phosphorus: One ounce of quinoa contains almost 25% of daily phosphorus intake for infants

-Great Source of Manganese: One ounce of quinoa contains 1/3 of daily manganese intake for infants

-Great Alternative to Rice: Delicious and nutritious


It’s a Complete Protein: 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. Quinoa’s protein complex includes all 20 amino acids that our body needs. This includes the 9 amino acids that are essential, meaning that our body can’t produce them on their own and therefore we must consume them in food.

It’s Naturally Gluten-Free: A part of why quinoa is especially popular among people regardless of their diet is the fact that it’s naturally gluten-free. Whether you’re gluten-free or trying to cut down on refined carbohydrates, quinoa is an amazing option. 

Skin Health: Quinoa contains a big dose of folate, which is known as folic acid in its supplement form. While folate is known for its role during pregnancy for baby’s neural development, it’s also great for skin health. 

Digestive Health: Just one ounce of quinoa contains almost 25% of an infant’s daily phosphorus intake, which can help facilitate healthy digestion in the body. Phosphorus works with many B vitamins to improve digestion and promote more regular and healthy BMs.

Bone Health: Piling on the health benefits— one ounce of quinoa contains 1/3 of an infant’s daily manganese intake. Manganese works together with other minerals, such as calcium, zinc and copper, to build stronger, healthier bones.

When can my baby start eating blends with quinoa?

Babies can be introduced to quinoa as early as 6-8 months. At Yumi, you’ll find quinoa mixed in our Blends.

Here are some signs that they’re ready for quinoa:

  • They’ve begun to try nibbles of fresh, whole foods such as sliced strawberries, bananas, avocados, and steamed veggies.
  • They’ve told you multiple times how they want grains with a good carbohydrate to protein ratio (I mean, they’re not saying this…but we bet they’re thinking it)

My baby doesn’t seem to like quinoa. What should I do?

There’s no denying that the texture of quinoa may be unfamiliar to a baby at first. As with all new flavors and textures, you’re bound to get some funny faces, light gagging, and overall “guys-what is this?!” looks. Just keep trying! And if your baby really doesn’t seem to like it, you can try freezing your blends with quinoa in them until you think you’re ready. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on the nutritive benefits of quinoa, so it’s worth trying again in a week or so.

Can my baby choke on the quinoa?

Don’t worry— quinoa is a grain that’s even smaller than rice, meaning that your baby won’t be able to choke on it. Before serving anything with quinoa, make sure that it’s properly mixed, to prevent any large clumping. Of course, as with many new textures, slight gagging may occur, however, choking won’t. So don’t worry! You got this.

Let’s build a healthier generation together